Updated: 01/18/2013 3:44 PM KSTP.com By: Mark Albert
It may be winter, but the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is gearing up now for a fight this spring.
This month, the DNR is looking for paid watercraft inspection interns to help to fight the spread of invasive species to more of Minnesota's precious 10,000 lakes.
If successful in filling all its spots, the DNR will have assembled its largest army of inspectors ever, part of an estimated $7 million effort against aquatic invasive species.
"It's definitely important to have the, kind of, boots on the ground," said Heidi Wolf, the DNR's watercraft inspection program coordinator, in an interview Thursday.
In a job posting online that went live Jan. 3, the DNR is seeking 100 of the interns to work 40-hour weeks from April to October with pay of $10 to $11 an hour. Applications are due Feb. 1.
The entry-level inspectors will "talk to the public about invasive species and help people inspect their boat, teach them to inspect their boat, make sure that nobody's transporting invasive species or entering a waterbody with invasive species," Wolf explained.
The need is great: more Minnesota lakes were infested with zebra mussels due to overland spread in the past four years than in the previous 18 years combined, according to statistics provided by the DNR.
During last year's intern program, Wolf says the department struggled to fill some of the intern positions, ultimately falling short in mostly outstate locations, such as Brainerd, Winona, and Polk county, among other areas.
Click here to view the watercraft inspection intern job application.